Erik Gunnar Asplund with Sigurd Lewerentz Woodland Crematorium, Woodland Cemetery, Stockholm, Sweden, Site plan and section, final version 1937

  • Not on view

The site plan for the cemetery evolved dramatically over the course of the project, reaching its definitive form, an open spatial arrangement, by 1932. In a drawing by Asplund from 1937, showing the northern part of the site, the entrance to the cemetery is represented by a semicircle on the right side of the drawing. From here, a walled allée marks a strong axial movement to the south, interrupted when it opens to present the visitor with a tranquil rolling landscape devoid of graves. Asplund and Lewerentz studied this entry sequence carefully, establishing it as both monumental and contemplative to communicate the importance of nature, to which all living things ultimately return. As Asplund had in devising the walled and forested precinct around the Woodland Chapel (the rectangular form on the left side of drawing), which is discreetly surrounded by the crematorium and other ancillary buildings, they saved monumentality for the landscape, rather than trying to achieve it through any structure or object. By the time of Asplund's death, in 1940, the architects had transformed their forested site into a modern sanctuary for death and bereavement.

Originally from TextEntryID 73725 (TextTypeID 133)

(See 307.1984 for the remainder of this essay)

Publication excerpt from Matilda McQuaid, ed., Envisioning Architecture: Drawings from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2002, p. 47.
Collaborating artist
Sigurd Lewerentz
Graphite on tracing paper
16 1/4 x 37 7/8" (41.3 x 96.2 cm)
Gift of Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller, Mrs. Gifford Phillips, Celeste and Armand P. Bartos, Mrs. S. I. Newhouse, Jr., and purchase
Object number
Architecture and Design

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